There are many differences between scouting for a permanent position and a shorter-term contract job, so it’s crucial to be prepared and know what you need to do.There are two steps here – finding the right job and winning the contract.
Finding the opportunity.
There are many different ways to find contract work. Offers can come from friends and colleagues, previous employers who know your skillsets, companies looking for talent through networks such as LinkedIn, or often through specialist recruitment agencies. Established contractors can use reputation and contacts to find their next role – however, as a new face to the marketplace, you may not have this option.
Recruitment agencies are perhaps the easiest way to find contract opportunities. Most agencies have a contract work division and many exclusively work with contractors – it is their livelihood to place people in contract roles, so you know an agency will be working on your behalf. A good recruiter will get to know you and carefully match your CV to prospective contracts – it is worth taking the time to find ones you trust, since you won’t be wasting time considering roles you’re not a good fit for. For each role, a recruiter will have a list of prospective candidates – make sure you are on that list!
Before you can even get a foot in the door, you will need to make sure your CV is up to scratch. Writing a CV for contract work isn’t the same as for permanent roles – your skills and capabilities are key. Our guide to writing a contractor CV will give you all the information you need to write a stand-out CV and a good recruiter will offer advice and make amendments to your CV as needed.
You are working for yourself now – although agencies and contacts can help, ultimately it’s up to you. Remember, when you are not working, your full-time job is finding a job. Don’t rely on anybody else – scout job boards, contact prospective clients, connect with old colleagues and generally make sure you are devoting as much time as possible to securing the next opportunity.